Times of Adversity

These are tough times. We are going through some very difficult times in the world today - the Coronavirus, racial tensions and economic instability. Many have lost their lives to COVID-19 and racial injustice. Many more have lost their jobs and livelihoods. Can we survive this? Will we come out of this? My optimistic self says, "Yes we will." This too shall definitely pass. We may get broken, busted and disgusted but we can make it to the other side better than we were before.

Merriam-Webster describes adversity as a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune. Adversity is what challenges us to grow and to depart from our comfort zone. Even when our external circumstances continue to remain the same, a tough time does something on the inside of us that cannot be purchased at the store. We develop courage. We become stronger. We challenge ourselves in ways we've never have before.

Tragedy and misfortune is universal. Everyone goes through it at some point in their lives. Adversity is impartial. It is no respecter of qualifications, net worth, status or accomplishments. It happens to anyone. A car wreck is a car wreck; whether in a Bentley or a Honda. Tragedy and misfortune is painful emotionally and physically. I have gone through adversity that threatened to keep me in beds for days, reluctant to face the world. The challenging thing is that difficult times can last for days, weeks or even years - a sickness that seems to go on for ever, a dead and miserable marriage or a pandemic with no end in sight. As days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months and months turn into years, the pain can be intense and debilitating. The issues that confront us are beyond our control. We feel trapped like a prisoner that must do the time.

So, what do we do in times of adversity? Do we crawl into a corner and give up, asking "Why me?" or do we sit up and face that which confronts us head-on? How we respond is probably the most important. Our attitude is what makes or breaks us when life threatens to destroy us. Attitude is the difference maker. Winston Churchill said: "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." I couldn't agree with him more. Someone said, "Our attitude is like a flat tire. We can't go anywhere until we change it." If we maintain the attitude that our most difficult times do not necessarily come to destroy us but to strengthen us and shape our character for the better, we stand a greater chance of surviving whatever we are dealing with and to pass the test with flying colors.

Chuck Swindoll said it well with this quote: “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

We all have to go through the current climate. There is no escape route for anyone. Even if you are not affected by the racial injustice or economic instability, you are definitely impacted by COVID-19. Let's get an attitude adjustment if we need one. Let's continue to work and grow in the dark. The light is coming in due time and opportunities will be available only for those who are prepared.

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